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It sounds like your neons are displaying one of the classical signs of "Neon Tetra Disease," which I posted on about two digests ago. Unfortunately, there is no treatment except to remove and destroy infected fish. Are your fish showing any other clinical signs aside from the white areas? I can't say for sure without seeing them what your worm-like creatures are, but they sound like your run-of-the-mill free living flatworms to me. If your worms have a visibly arrow-shaped head, it is a good bet that they are indeed planarians. If they were parasitic flatworms, it is highly unlikely that you would see adults gliding around the glass and rocks. They'd be exclusively on or in the fish. The presence of the free-living flatworms in your tank may be indicative of other problems, however, including excessive amounts of organic debris. I don't know what your tanks look like (they could be crystal clear and you might still have flatworms), but I would look to issues such as the crowding of your fish and water quality. Both of these factors and any others that stress your fish may be leading to your outbreak of disease.
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 12:19:38 -0400
From: "Tom Brennan" <brennans at ix_netcom.com>
Subject: dieing Rainbows and neon-tetras?
Over the past 3 weeks or so I have notice a number of my neon tetras and praecox rainbows dieing with increasing regularity. I have been noticing some small (1-2cm)white worm looking creatures running along the glass in this tank (125g planted discus tank) and am wondering if these worms may be the culprit? The worms don't look like Planaria (sp?) because they have what looks like an "arrow-head" like font and they are usually sliding across the glass or otherwise fully attached to gravel plants or glass. The discus look fine but the neons and rainbows are starting to die of at unacceptable rates. With all the talk of fish TB I am wondering if some of my fish are now victim to this or maybe some sort of parasitic invasion? I don't notice any lesions however I do notice some neons with areas that are turning white just before the tail fin. Any suggestions? I am also worried about a robust group of Caridina Jopoinica shrimp in the tank and what a likely medication regime might do to them. I have no other "Scale-less" fish only MTS and assorted bristle-nose plecos, ottos, SAEs, Farlowella (sp?).
Thanks so much for your help,
brennans at ix_netcom.com